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The Art of Architectural Illustration
by Carlo Berces Castillo

Architectural Illustration is a "Vocation" in which not everybody can attain. The Architectural Illustrator, whether traditional or digital media, is a rare breed of design professional, whose commitment to excellence has elevated its practice to a secular level. The Architectural Illustrator is the person who doesn't distinguish night from day, for he is consumed by the process of creation, making something out of nothing. At this moment, time stands still, nothing matters except "evolution".

So, What made this Architectural Illustrator choose to draw rather than design? Is it the instant gratification of creating, rather than waiting until the structure materialize. Or is it illustrators impulse to view the world in his own perspective, on how he sees the world.


Perspectivist, in an article i recently read are described the traditional illustrators as "perspectivisorous",which in due time will become obsolete as their reptile counterpart. And that an emerging species of digital media is taking over the playing field.

Having said that, a person who came from the old school of thought, the traditional illustrator, who upon tasting the digital media, will be mesmerize by what the extent of what his imagination can achieve.

If you think computer as a medium, it won't be far away from the truth, anything will not be possible without the artist behind, just like an artist and his brush. It is the design professional who is the heart of all this practice.

Coming from the same discipline earlier in my career, tasting both world, i see no difference in favoring one or the other. Perspectivist and the new 3d Illustration complements each other. One must be proficient in the basic skills of traditional drawings, in order to excel in 3d Illustration.

3D Illustration

3D Illustration is a 2d representation of a 3d object in the virtual world. The illustrators role is to convey in the best possible manner, the design of the structure, through a rendered perspective.

Modeling a building for architectural presentation and analysis is different from modeling cartoon character, aliens from distant planet. Nobody know what aliens look like so the modelers have an advantage in his interpretation. Almost everybody knows what a structure looks like, and those expectation should be met by the illustrator.

With the aid of the Architectural Software, the Architects, Interior Designers, and Industrial Designers - anyone who makes aesthetic decisions in 3-Dimensions, will find that 3D computer visualization is a very effective way of conveying design ideas.

Building a 3D illustration on a computer often highlights design problems, and can aid in the search for a solution, which are often overlooked during the design process.

Learning 3d Illustration

Learning 3d Illustration requires devotion and discipline, just like any other profession. Whether you choose to acquire the necessary skills by attending a formal school or by educating yourself, it's helpful to be clear on what your goals and aspirations. Remember "without a vision, the people perish", without a specific target, you will have no motivation to pursue anything.

For many, formal 3D illustration training is necessary, just like when we took our college course, whether its architecture or fine arts. So when ask whether a formal course in illustration is a must, the answer is "it depends on the individual".

No matter what kind of education you receive, in our field, it's not what we know, but it's what we can show. The main criteria is our demo reel or portfolio is what the client/employer sees about you, your skills, and artistic vision than anything else.

There are some advantages to spending time in a formal school environment, first of all is that you will be completely immersed in the subject matter that you are learning. A definite advantage is the motivation and getting focused.

A school is more than a learning institution, it's also a best environment for networking in your specialized field, including the faculties, who are often connected with different illustration and/or production houses, mainly because they probably do some freelance work, or they have former students working in some prestigious design firms.

Another advantage is also that if you attend a formal school, you have access in all their equipment, and being mentored by a professional, that is not possible if you will try to learn by yourself.

Attending school improves the chances of landing an internship, which maybe the best way to prove yourself in a working studio and get the needed professional experience or a presentable demo reel and/or portfolio.

Some school also provide placement for selected excellent student, due to the school and graduates that are connected to some professional production houses.

It does not guaranty that attending a formal education enables you to achieve your goal, it just improves the probability of landing a good career.

Basically it falls on one thing, "it's not what we know, but it's what we can show." The only person that is interested about your grades are your parents.

Renderings in Watercolor and Acrylic of Waterscapes
by Lynne Albright

The fascination of the almost-mesmeric effects of ever-changing, sparkling light patterns on water has intrigued artists for centuries. The subject could be pounding seas, a placid lake, a rampant river, or a wandering stream. Translating the feeling of the play of light on water to a two-dimensional painted surface is an engrossing artistic endeavor.

Watercolor and acrylic are two interesting mediums (among many) having unique characteristics when used to give the illusion of reflections on water. Handled differently, both are water-based paints, but are definitely diverse in their applications and results.

Different rendering methods are required for reflections of clouds, trees, bridges and boats on top of the water as well as earth and rocks under the water. In the following examples, paintings referred to may be seen in larger scale at:

The reflection of the sky was painted in a transparent, thin wash with lots of water and let dry. The reflections of the trees were then built up in many layers of opaque and darker, less intense colors, as reflections would appear in water. (Notice the darker red of the boat's reflection in the foreground).

The colors of the sky and clouds, showing through between the tree branches, were added in opaque light blue and white. Shadows on the end of the bridge reflect in the water in transparent, washy layers.

The reflection of the colorful underside of the bridge was painted first and let dry. Then the waterway passage underneath and behind the ducks was "scrubbed" out with clear water and a soft brush. Carefully done, this takes off the surface paint and exposes the white base of the watercolor board. After thoroughly dry, the board was then painted with horizontal strokes to create the illusion of moving water behind the swimming ducks. This method takes advantage of the non-permanence of the watercolor medium.

1) The pebbled ground in the lower left foreground steps down under the water towards the middle of the canal. This part of the painting was done at the same time as the bank of pebbles on the right, but the detailing of submerged pebbles is slightly blurred, as it would be when seen under the water. Then, after it all was dry, a transparent water effect was painted over the area. Because of the permanency of the pigment, however, the image underneath remains perfectly intact.

2) The reflections of the bridge railings are opaque, wavy, abstract patterns looking almost like ribbons bobbing across the water's surface and over the submerged stones.

First, the opaque, blue-green pigment representing the sky reflection in the canal water was put on the canvas. Next the reflection of the dark fronds of the palm tree in the center was added. Over the top of the palm frond reflection, several shades of lighter blue-green "ripples" of water portray the surface movement of the canal water. Three layers of opaque paint create the illusion.

In acrylic, white pigment is added to a color to get a lighter value. In watercolor, a light value of a color is achieved by letting the white of the watercolor surface show through and darker values are achieved by laying down cumulative washes.

Architectural Rendering - Visualize Architecture Building Models
by Thomas

Architectural Rendering is basically known as preparation and presentation of purposed design of a building. Using it, architectural building models can be evaluated. It includes commercial, residential, industrial and institutional unit. In the rendering process architects make the sketches of the building with accurate dimension and show you accordingly. Invent of CAD technology made it more realistic. You can view moving objects on your computer using this latest technology and get the exact view of your future building.

CAD and related multimedia technique allow you to present how prospective building will appear after it is built. In the past time the process of viewing architectural building models on computer was not accurate but after the invention of rendering technique one can view the building models from 360 degree. Usage of 3D technology also reduced the complexity. 3D architectural rendering is the most valuable term used widely in architect industry.

To select proper color and pattern for your building exterior, you can use 3D rendering technique. One can select a view from wide spectrum designs. After selecting a proper design you can also change it as per your preferences. In the past it was almost impossible to get the exact shade of color which you wanted. Today with the advancement of the present CAD technologies, especially architectural rendering it is now possible the exact design which you wanted.

The technique is not only limited only for exterior but it also used in interior designs. Rendering is used to get proper furniture design, textures, wall color and flooring design. Various combination of architectural rendering technique gives you realistic view of your interior which you can manage on your computer. All the process can be done by using latest software so you will get maximum accuracy and that resist the re designing possibility.

Architectural rendering includes animated architectural illustration, 3D house plans, 3D visualizations, photomontage architectural rendering, walkthrough and flythrough. Each term is used to satisfy different purposes like walkthrough is the powerful application used to find the faults in design and to get error free architectural building models.

What Is Rendering

''Where do architects and designers get their ideas?'' The answer, of course, is mainly from other architects and designers, so is it mere casuistry to distinguish between tradition and plagiarism?
Stephen Bayley

A building is akin to dogma; it is insolent, like dogma. Whether or no it is permanent, it claims permanence, like a dogma. People ask why we have no typical architecture of the modern world, like impressionism in painting. Surely it is obviously because we have not enough dogmas; we cannot bear to see anything in the sky that is solid and enduring, anything in the sky that does not change like the clouds of the sky.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
Frank Lloyd Wright

A modern, harmonic and lively architecture is the visible sign of an authentic democracy.
Walter Gropius

A structure becomes architectural, and not sculptural, when its elements no longer have their justification in nature.
Guillaume Apollinaire

Ah, to build, to build! That is the noblest art of all the arts. Painting and sculpture are but images, are merely shadows cast by outward things on stone or canvas, having in themselves no separate existence. Architecture, existing in itself, and not in seeming a something it is not, surpasses them as substance shadow.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All architects want to live beyond their deaths.
Philip Johnson

All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

All fine architectural values are human vales, else not valuable.
Frank Lloyd Wright


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